Whenever people are in stressed out, they use all kinds of means to release their stress. Some people enjoy having a nice walk, some people take a nap, while others watch anime. I am one of the latter people. During my first semester of college, I found myself very stressed out by the new environment and the fact that I was away from home for the first time in my life. In an attempt to find a stress reliever, something that kept me occupied and allowed me to catch a breather, I ran into the magical world of anime.
I did watch Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Dragon Ball Z when I was younger, but I want to say the first anime I ever watched was Death Note. And man, what a show that was. However, that wasn’t the show that got me hooked on the greatness of anime. Once I got back home from my first semester of college for winter break, I watched this one anime and after that, everything else was history. After finishing that show, I had officially become a true anime fan. If you are curious to see what anime it was, you’ll have to wait until you read my number one pick.
Once I finished that specific anime, I dove head first into the world of anime without even thinking. I watched anything and almost everything I possibly could. I experimented with various genres, such as action, rom-com, drama, supernatural, and even ecchi. And as I sat down to write this article, it was very difficult to pick my Top 5 anime. There are so many I wish I could add to this list, but I decided to pick anime that either made me love it even more, or reminded me why anime was amazing. Here are my Top 5 anime, I hope you enjoy!
5. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Jan 2016 - Apr 2016
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu takes you into the world of Rakugo, a traditional Japanese form of comedic storytelling. A young man, Yotarou, is inspired one day, when Yakumo Yuurakutei performs at the prison he was being held in. Once he is released, he begs Yakumo to be his mentor. As Yotarou begins his training, he meets Konatsu, a young woman who has been under the care of Yakumo ever since her father, Sukeroku Yuurakutei, died. Here, we see how the relationship between Yakumo and Sukeroku was affected by the art of rakugo and how rakugo not only changed them, but also those around them.
I watched this anime recently, and honestly it is a true work of art. At first, hearing Rakugo performances felt like it held back the story, but as I began to understand each character and the stories they told, I couldn’t help but listen. As each Rakugo performance ended, the story kept getting better and better, and little by little I saw various parts of myself in each of the characters. During the time I was reaching the anime finale, I shed tears as I heard the last rakugo performance and couldn’t believe it was coming to an end. This anime is a true masterpiece and I hope everyone sooner or later ends up watching it, because everyone needs a bit of rakugo in their life.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu PV 1
4. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Your Lie in April)
- Episodes: 22
- Air Date: Oct 2014 - Mar 2015
Your Lie in April takes you into the life of young piano prodigy, Kousei Arima. After the passing of Kousei’s mother, Saki Arima, Kousei is unable to hear the sound of the piano keys. Now that Kousei is older, he avoids the piano and tries his best to live an ordinary life with his friends. However, everything begins to change when he meets Kaori Miyazono, a beautiful violinist. As Kousei starts hanging out with Kaori more often, he begins to recover his ability to hear the sound of the piano keys, and at the same time, slowly begins to fall in love with this enthusiastic violinist.
Your Lie in April. Or what I like to call it, You Broke my Heart in April. When I first started watching anime, I tried to watch all the anime people recommended. And sure enough, Your Lie in April was one of the top recommendations. I’ll be honest with you, I was never really a person to cry because of shows, movies, video games, and so on. However, after watching Your Lie in April, that all changed. Not only was the story a roller coaster of a ride, with its great soundtrack that consisted of music composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin, Your Lie in April has a special place in my heart. Now, as anime fans, we can all relate to the moments where we try to convince non-anime fans to watch anime. To me, Your Lie in April is the anime I always recommend to firsttimers. It’s one of the perfect examples of what anime can be, instead of the stereotypical idea people have in mind. Tentacle porn perhaps. If you are one of those people who still haven’t watched Your Lie in April, it’s okay. Just make sure you have a box of tissues at your disposal.
3. Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Jul 2012 - Dec 2012
Kazuto Kirigaya is what we call nowadays a gamer and he got his hands on the newest massive online role-playing game, Sword Art Online (SAO). In the near future, virtual reality has advanced immensely with the aid of “NerveGear” technology; players can control their characters with just their minds. Kirito, Kazuto’s nickname, steps into this new world along with 10,000 players, ready to go on an adventure. However, players begin to notice that there is no logout button. Kirito and everyone else is brought to the main area, where they are told by the creator, Akihiko Kayaba, that in order to escape this new reality, they must complete the game, but if they die in this new world, they also die in real life. Can Kirito survive until the end?
When I first watched Sword Art Online, I was hooked. One, Kirito was such an OP badass, and two, Asuna is a major waifu. But those aren’t the only reasons why I enjoyed SAO so much. I enjoyed the idea of players being stuck in a game and using not just their skills but also their minds to survive. If I remember correctly, it took me about 2-3 days to finish both seasons. However, after watching season 2, I was left craving for more. In an attempt to quench this thirst, I began to read the SAO light novels and those were even better than I thought. The new release of the Sword Art Online movie, Ordinal Scale, was great to watch, and it seems like season 3 will soon be announced. I know this anime has a lot of backlash because of major plot holes, but who cares. SAO for me was exciting to watch and I can only imagine what the gaming world will be like once we catch up to their technology. Hopefully people don’t get stuck in the game, though. That would be bad.
Sword Art Online Trailer
2. Diamond no Ace (Ace of Diamond)
- Episodes: 75
- Air Date: Oct 2013 - Mar 2015
It’s the bottom of the ninth and the score’s tied. Two outs, bases loaded, and the count is three balls, two strikes. The pitch goes wide and Eijun Sawamura loses his final middle school baseball game. Distraught by their defeat, Eijun and his teammates make a promise to each other that they will reach finals in high school. However, everything changes when Eijun is scouted by one of Tokyo’s prestigious schools, Seidou High School. Eijun is introduced to a different level of baseball he has never experienced before and it’s going to take every bit of himself to become a part of his new team. Along with talented new players and returners, the Seidou baseball team aims to become the best in Japan.
I played four years of baseball in high school. When I saw that there was a baseball anime, I decided to give it a try. Now, there is something about sports anime that just makes you excited and happy when you’re watching it. At times, I found myself screaming at my TV because an amazing play had just occurred or someone got a clutch hit. Not only did Ace of Diamond have great baseball action, but it was really sweet to see all the character development in each team member. There were characters that I compared to previous teammates and it was funny to see myself in some of these characters. Each episode brought me a nostalgic feel after, and I was always left with the sudden urge to play some catch. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, Ace of Diamond places you in the center of the baseball diamond, and shows you the complexity and beautifulness of this sport.
1. Macross F (Macross Frontier)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Apr 2008 - Sep 2008
Mankind has been pushed to the brink of extinction by a race, the Zentradi. In order to survive their new foes, humanity has left Earth and now resides amongst the stars of the galaxy. In 2059 A.D., the 25th Giant Immigration fleet, known as the Macross Frontier, begins its expedition to the center of the galaxy. Everything seems to be going well, until famous idol Sheryl Nome visits and suddenly a mysterious alien race known as Vajra appear and attack the fleet. Alto Saotome, a student mech pilot rescues a young girl, Ranka Lee, when she is attacked by the Vajra. Alto is recruited to be a member of the Strategic Military Services program.
Macross Frontier was the second anime I ever watched and it is what got me hooked on anime. Who knew that mecha-fighter jets, music, and love triangles would make such a good combo. I recall hearing Ranka Lee, the definition of kawaii, singing Watashi no Kare Wa Pairotto (My Boyfriend is a Pilot), and me replaying that same scene a ton of times. Not only did I fall in love with all the Macross songs, but I also fell in love with the idea that music had the power to change the world. Love triangles are notoriously known for never being resolved, but I found satisfaction in being left to speculate who ended up with who. Macross Frontier isn’t just all drama and romance, though, the fighting flying scenes are done very well and just have their own distinct feel compared to other mecha anime. If you haven’t watched Macross Frontier or any of the Macross series, I definitely recommend you check it out.
It’s been about a year and a half since I started watching anime, and I honestly don’t think I will ever stop. There are so many good anime out there that I wish I could include in this list, but I was limited to five only. Anime is great because there are endless possibilities of stories and I truly appreciate the great range of diversity anime brings to the table.
Some may say that my Top 5 are very common anime and that may be true, but I think it was only fair to put anime that really had an effect on me. There are so many hidden gems in the anime industry, but at the same time, we should give credit to those popular anime. I hope my list encourages you to watch them if you haven’t yet. What are your Top 5 anime? Do we have similar Top 5 anime? Do you have any recommendations? Please leave a comment.